LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The U.N. climate secretariat and the Development Bank of Latin America will open an office at the beginning of September in Bogotá, Colombia, aimed at boosting the number of U.N.-registered carbon offset projects in the region.
This is the fourth regional collaboration centre (RCC) to be set up by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and a partner organisation.
The others were established in Lomé, Togo - aimed at increasing participation in the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in West and Francophone Africa - Kampala in Uganda, to serve the rest of Africa, and Saint George’s, Grenada, to help project developers in the Caribbean.
“The RCC in Bogotá will help tap the potential for CDM projects in Latin America and serve as a working example of the kind of inter-agency cooperation necessary to tackle climate change,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said in a statement.
The CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries, such as renewable energy schemes, to earn certified emission reductions (CERs), each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. The CERs can be traded and sold and used by industrialised countries to help meet their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to tackle global warming.
The CDM has more than 7,183 registered projects in 89 developing countries. The UNFCCC says it is a "powerful mechanism" to deliver finance for emission-reduction projects and contribute to sustainable development.
But the market has been struggling in recent years. The price of the credits has slumped to around 50 cents from over 20 euros five years ago, after countries failed in 2009 to agree a new global climate pact that would have triggered demand for the credits.
Nonetheless, the UNFCCC recently decided not to slash administration fees for project developers - who can barely make money with carbon prices so low - and to invest more in regional centres to promote the CDM in under-represented countries.
The centres identify opportunities for potential CDM projects and programmes of activities, which bundle a number of projects into one scheme. They also support the development of project documents, and help work out standards for registering projects that are tailored to local contexts.
A fifth centre is planned for Manila in the Philippines later in the year.
Enrique García, executive president of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), described the cooperation agreement with the UNFCCC as an important step for sustainable economic growth. "Through development and financing of such innovative projects, we are helping to combat global warming and promote the use of clean and renewable energy in the region," he said.
There are currently 898 CDM projects in the Latin America/Caribbean region, accounting for 12.5 percent of total registered projects. Only 18 are in the Caribbean. For Latin America, most projects are in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Argentina.